Destiny: The Legend so far…
Destiny is a MMO/FPS/RPG hybrid, released by Bungie back in September 2014. It was released to a mixed review, this mostly due to the lack of certain story and gameplay elements that were assumed to be in the final release. While it’s had it has had its ups and downs, in terms of feedback from its player base, Destiny has continued to evolve itself into the game that it is today. As with most MMOs that we’re currently use to, Destiny has released many patches and Expansions. As we approach the end of its first year, and come upon E3 in the upcoming weeks, I thought it would be a good time to see where our Guardians stand so far, why this is a great time to get involved with saving the Traveler, and what we are looking forward to in the next year’s cycle.
A Guardian is born
Since its initial release, Destiny has been compared to anything from World of Warcraft and The Legend of Zelda, to Halo and Call of Duty. This is, of course, due to the games take on both the RPG/MMO style of those classic games, while also heavily lending itself to the FPS genre. This has had both a positive and negative effect on the game and its players, as it tends to lean more towards shooters, but wrapped in a sci-fi, alien killing, leveling up, gear and loot farming shell. This has been the most majorly talked about disappointment with the game itself, as all of the story driven quests, lore, and other such things have been greatly lacking. Given that Bungie is the team that created the Halo franchise, and know excellent storytelling, this came as a surprise to all.
The initial battles (and the majority of them throughout the game world) often take place in a “go here-protect area-kill enemies” formula, that really gets bland along the grind to 20. With the initial lack a diverse amount or type of missions in the initial “vanilla” launch, you can imagine that it got old fast. Luckily, Destiny takes another excellent piece from MMOs and RPGs, besides leveling systems and gear/loot. When Bungie dropped Destiny’s first raid, The Vault of Glass, the community exploded, as we were finally treated to more than just killing enemies. We were introduced to six man teams outside of PvP matches in the Crucible. We were shown that boss and room mechanics can work in a shooter, and we were taught how to fight as a team, instead of the Lone Wolf. From the first time you killed Atheon, until today, there has been no greater encounter than that.
You’ve awoken the Hive!
With the initial release in the bag, we were teased to what the first Expansion, The Dark Below (TDB), would bring to the table. During the approaching weeks to its December release date, new enemies and Public Events were introduced into the world, showing us just how much the Hive hates the Light. Swords of Crota would appear out of nowhere, terrorizing the landscape of Earth or the Moon, and Guardians everywhere were finally able to get their hands on Crota’s Sword, even if only for 60 seconds before it exploded. This is where Destiny’s mechanics began to poke the first budding leaves from the dirt. The official release of The Dark Below came in full force, introducing a new character in the Tower, Eris Morn. She would be our guide into the Hellmouth, handing out quests and missions, while requiring us to hand out a lethal dose of justice to those zombie-alien scum! TDB also came with a new raid, called Crota’s End. While this raid proved to be challenging in the beginning, it soon became a moderately simple task to complete the raid without the aid of your friends. I believe this in one of the major reasons that it has not had the same effect as VoG (Vault of Glass), even though it is a higher level experience.
Eris’ calls for help, and discovering the terrors that she faced were a welcome treat, but in the end, were lacking in real substance. The inclusion of new gear and weapons, though, has still held out, and have provided me with long nights of grinding the raid to complete my collections.
The House of Wolves
After the release of TDB, many Guardians spoke out on the lack of story, game options, and other issues they had. I have to hand it to Bungie, as with every patch, more and more has been addressed to bring the game up to what it is today. The House of Wolves (HoW) was the most recent release of content, being the final Expansion that Bungie will be releasing during Destiny’s year one cycle, and you can see that they’ve really experimented in presenting their stories to their audience. The House of Wolves introduced a lot of new material to the Destiny universe. To compliment players who prefer PvP matches more than PvE experiences, Bungie introduced the Trials of Osiris (ToO). This is a new 3v3 arena, where players are pit against each other in an elimination competition. This game type has proven itself to be created for the best of the best. I attempted it during its first weekend and was crushed, along with my team. I never said I was a great multiplayer! But the rewards and feeling of accomplishment are real, and present nothing like any other experience thus far in the game.
While no raid was released with this new Expansion, a second arena for the PvE players was also released, called the Prison of Elders (PoE). In this new game mode, you gather up two of your friends, and head into the Prison of Elders, and take on room by room of enemy, in classic horde mode fashion. Each room represents one of the four different enemy types (Cabal, Fallen, Hive, or Vex), and each encounter is also stipulated with buffs/debuffs in the beginning of the room, and also certain objectives that must be completed, when you begin on your second room. The Prison of Elders has proved to be an excellent end game experience, though not quite up to the level of what a raid can be.
Along with HoW, Bungie also gave us another social space, where our Guardians can relax, grab missions, and get their dance party on. When the Reef was opened up to the public, we were all treated to not only a new landscape to look at, but new interactions with new characters. Petra Vanj has returned to charge players with completing bounties for the Queen. Variks, the loyal Fallen from the House of Judgement, was also introduced, as another insight to story missions, and also to run the Prison of Elders. If you ask me, Variks has been by far the best character introduced to the game, and only leaves me wondering if/when other races will be introduced as story elements, or playable characters.
Your story isn’t over yet
Though the first two Expansions are through the gate and doing their thing, it’s not over yet. Destiny has been confirmed to be in your face for the next ten years! So, where do we go from here? Well, as I said in the beginning, this is an excellent time to begin, or return, to Destiny. With two raids, a multitude of story missions, two arenas, the Crucible, and other small but great changes that have taken place in the Destiny universe since September, you’re not lacking on things to do at this time with a new character. And hitting the now 34 level cap, you open up even more. And this doesn’t even include the monthly Iron Banner tournament. That being said, there is still plenty of room to grow. Bungie has already provided us with an official release date for year two’s launch, called The Taken King, which will be hitting consoles on September 15, 2015. With this upcoming release comes new subclasses, new weapons, and new experiences. Bungie told us, before the release of HoW, that while there is no raid in that expansion, there are still more to come. So one can only hope that it bought to the table in September or sooner.
So, yes, there are still a few story direction issues to be worked out, and it’s definitely not your average MMO, but the world of Destiny is still evolving, still growing, and I believe it will be a game to keep our eyes on for a while.